U-107 under Harald Gelhaus Bermuda patrol January 1942

U-107          Gelhaus       30-Jan-1942            7

U-107 under Oberleutnant zur See (soon to be Kapitänleutnant) Harald Gelhaus passed north of Bermuda heading west to the Virginia Capes and Hatteras. He also passed north of Bermuda heading eastbound about three weeks later. This was the second wave of three U-boats behind the first wave of five boats which attacked on 13 January 1942. U-107 attacked in concert with U-106 and U-103 as the first wave withdrew eastwards, to maintain a continuous presence off Hatteras. The patrol to the box north of Bermuda began on the 30th of January 1942, and resulted in the sinking of the tanker San Arcadio, a British ship of 7,419 tons, on the 31st.

U-107 motored west and left the Bermuda zone on the 3rd of February, to return bound eastwards for France on the 15th. While off the US coast he followed this with the sinking of the Major Wheeler, an American vessel of 3,431 tons, on the 6th of February. On the 16thof February the boat transferred some fuel to U-564 under Teddy Suhren, north of Bermuda.

When northeast of Bermuda Gelhaus and his team damaged the Edga, a Norwegian ship of 10,068 tons operating in Convoy ON-65 on the 21stof February southeast of Canada’s Sable Island. The patrol began in Lorient from the 2nd U-boat Flotilla on the seventh of January 1942 and ended there on the seventh of March.

Born in 1915 in Göttingen, Gelhaus began his career on the light cruiser Karlsruhe and battleship Gneisenau in 1938 before moving to U-boats the following year. He was in the class of 1935. Over ten patrols Gelhaus spent 425 patrol days and sank or damaged an impressive 19 ships of 110,411 tons. In March of 1943 he earned the Knights Cross to supplement an Iron Cross, and the U-Boat Front Clasp in October 1944.

Following command of U-107, in June of 1943 he became a commander of U-Boat Operations in the Eastern Baltic, joined Naval High Command in the North Sea in April of 1945, and was detained by the Allies until August 1945. He died in December of 1997 at age 82.


SOURCES: Gudmundur Helgason, Rainer Kolbicz, www.uboat.net, 2013, Kenneth Wynn, U-boat Operations of the Second World War, Volume 1 and Volume 2, 1997, R. Busch, and H.-J. Röll, German U-boat Commanders of World War II, 1988, Franz Kurowski, Knights Cross Holders of the U-boat Service